Encouragement

Encouragement for These Anxious Times

In America, we can look back over our history to the Gay Nineties, the post-war anticipation and opportunity of the 1950’s, even the prosperity and advancement of the 1980’s. From our vantage point, these eras seem to be laced with a nostalgic air of hope and optimism.

I wonder how, if the Lord tarries, people of the future will characterize these fraught times we’re living in right now. The Terrible Twenties? The Age of Anxiety?

From draconian, and often senseless, COVID restrictions to the very real harm and death the disease itself sometimes brings, from the terror the Taliban is inflicting on Afghanistan to the police in our own streets standing idly by as anarchy unfolds, fear – like the air we breathe – seems to be the watchword of our epoch.

Are you afraid, dear sister?

It would be hard, and maybe a little crazy, to look at what’s going on in the world and not be at least a little apprehensive. What’s going to happen to me? My children? My home? My church?

But God did not create us to live in fear of our circumstances. There’s not a single place in Scripture where God says fear of temporal things is good. On the contrary, He instructs us not to fear, but to trust in Him.

Let’s take a look at God’s instructions and encouragement to us when we’re anxious and fearful…

“Fear not,” is a command, not a suggestion.

Fear is a natural response to scary situations, but that’s just it…it’s a natural response, not a godly response. When we’re scared of potential or impending circumstances, God’s first instruction to us goes completely against the grain of our flesh: “Fear not.”

Those of us who are in Christ are not slaves to fears of the flesh. We have a choice. We can give in to fear, or we can tell our fears to scram. We are responsible to make the conscious choice to put off our fear in order to put on trust in the Lord.

Say to those who have an anxious heart,
“Be strong; fear not!
Behold, your God
will come with vengeance,
with the recompense of God.
He will come and save you.”

Isaiah 35:4

“You are my servant,
I have chosen you and not cast you off”;
fear not, for I am with you;
be not dismayed, for I am your God;
I will strengthen you, I will help you,
I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.


For I, the Lord your God,
hold your right hand;
it is I who say to you, “Fear not,
I am the one who helps you.”

Isaiah 40:9b-10, 13

I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. Luke 12:4

“Trust in the Lord,” is an imperative,
not an option.

You know the old saying, “Nature abhors a vacuum.”? That dynamic holds true for our spiritual lives as well. So, the Lord didn’t just give us the “don’t” of “Fear not,” He also gave us the “do” of “Trust Me, instead.” Choosing to place our trust in Him is an act of honor, worship, and obedience.

Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness. Psalm 37:4

When I am afraid,
I put my trust in you.
In God, whose word I praise,
in God I trust; I shall not be afraid.
What can flesh do to me?
Psalm 56:3-4

He is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the Lord. Psalm 112:7

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.

Proverbs 3:5

The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe. Proverbs 29:25

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord. Jeremiah 17:7

God is worthy of our trust.

God has given us good reason to trust Him, both in His actions and in His character.

In His actions, God has shown us His power to rescue time and time again in Scripture – from the flood, from the foe, from the fiery furnace, from famine, from faithless men.

In His character, He has proved Himself faithful, true to His Word, honorable, loving, compassionate, and benevolent.

God is worthy of our trust.

“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods? Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders? Exodus 15:11

God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it? Numbers 23:19

“There is none like God, O Jeshurun, who rides through the heavens to your help, through the skies in his majesty. The eternal God is your dwelling place, and underneath are the everlasting arms. Deuteronomy 33:26-27a

Your righteousness, O God, reaches the high heavens. You who have done great things, O God, who is like you? Psalm 71:19

You who fear the Lord, trust in the Lord! He is their help and their shield. Psalm 115:11

“Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid; for the Lord God is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation.” Isaiah 12:2

Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord God is an everlasting rock. Isaiah 26:4

Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save, or his ear dull, that it cannot hear; Isaiah 59:1

if we are faithless, he remains faithful—for he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:13

I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5b

Suffering and trials benefit us.

What an absurd thing to say, right? Only if you live in a world so broken and fallen that your perspective is the polar opposite of God’s perspective. Well…that’s where I live, and you do too. We see suffering and trials as altogether, thoroughly awful with no redeeming qualities. But that is not how God sees them.

Often, our fears center on difficult or painful circumstances that could come our way. But God uses trials and suffering for our good. They make us more like Jesus. They develop Christian character. They create a greater dependence on God. And if we suffer for the sake of Christ, it is an honor and will be rewarded.

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today. Genesis 50:20

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. Matthew 5:10-12

Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name. Acts 5:41

Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:8-10

Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4

Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. 1 Peter 4:12-14

Christ is our hope.

We weren’t created to find our hope in the things of this world. Even before the Fall, the glory of the Garden was not in its unsullied beauty, its unfettered joy, or its bountiful provision. The glory of the Garden was God Himself – His presence, His care, His love.

God has given us a “foretaste of Glory divine” that we carry around with us every day – the indwelling Holy Spirit – who causes us to hope in Christ now, and in Christ yet to come.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope. Romans 15:13

having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, Ephesians 1:18

the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. Colossians 1:27b

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe. 1 Timothy 4:10

waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, Titus 2:13

Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. Hebrews 10:23

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 1 Peter 1:3

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 1 Peter 1:13

God wins.

If everything around you is crumbling, and you don’t know what to do or how you’re going to make it, you can take hope and joy in one thing as a Believer.

God wins.

Say it with me: God wins.

Say it over and over again to yourself when you’re scared: God wins. God wins. God wins.

It doesn’t matter how badly things go for you in this world, God owns you, body and soul, and no one can snatch you out of His hand. Even if something or someone kills you, He gets to bring you home, and you get to be with Him.

Nothing will happen to you that is outside of God’s sovereign control. He knew it was coming. He ordained it for your good. He guides every twist and turn of it. He knows exactly what to do and how to handle it. And, He knows how and when it’s going to end. Nothing escapes His notice.

And one day, He’s going to come back and set everything right. Every injustice will be rectified. Every mystery will be solved. Every saint will be vindicated.

God always gets His way, and that’s good news for those of us who belong to Him. God wins.

And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? Matthew 6:27

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34

For the Son of Man is going to come with his angels in the glory of his Father, and then he will repay each person according to what he has done. Matthew 16:27

But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells. 2 Peter 3:13

For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:1-4

Encouragement, Suffering

Five Words of Encouragement for Spiritual Warfare’s Battle-Weary Soldiers

Anybody who tells you the Christian life is all lollipops and unicorns is selling something. No reasonable person who is the slightest bit familiar with the New Testament or church history could honestly believe that. The New Testament church was born and baptized in blood – first the blood of Christ, and the blood of His martyred disciples ever since.

In the spirit, God blesses us with joy unspeakable and full of glory, the peace that passes all understanding, and the comfort of “Lo, I am with you always.” And that is much to be thankful for, because life in the robe of flesh would be unbearable without those blessings.

But as we walk this real, tangible, eat your veggies and brush your teeth phase of existence, Jesus isn’t just a pretty pink purse we pick up along the way to complement our life’s wardrobe. To put on Christ is to volunteer to wear a target on your back. And your front, come to think of it. Because when you unapologetically stand for Christ and the truth of His Word, you will not only face a full frontal attack from the world, you’ll also risk being stabbed in the back by those you thought were comrades in arms.

Dealing with and responding to those attacks – that’s what spiritual warfare is. Not this modern, ridiculous, NAR-inspired version of “binding” Satan and bellowing commands into the air as though you have the power and the authority to boss the devil around (Even Michael the archangel wouldn’t go there.). We’re called to be good soldiers of Christ Jesus, not the Commander.

As good soldiers in the Lord’s army (yes sir!) real, biblical spiritual warfare is being protected and prepared in the spirit to righteously and courageously walk out biblical truth on the battlefield of whatever tangible circumstances God has placed you in. It’s understanding that those attacking you are not your real enemy – not the ones calling the shots. They’re soldiers, just like you. They’re either lost and ensnared by the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will (kind of a spiritual Stockholm Syndrome), or it’s friendly fire from someone in your unit who’s saved, but has somehow, momentarily mistaken you for the enemy.

But the wounds of warfare are painful and debilitating no matter who’s wielding the weapon. So for all of you ladies who have been persecuted by the world, attacked by family, abused by fellow church members, and abandoned by friends simply for holding fast to Christ and His Word and refusing to compromise, let these words of encouragement from the very One you cling to salve your soul…

1.
Jesus knows how you feel

There will never be a moment when we can cry out to Jesus from the depths of our desperation, “You have no idea what this is like – how badly it hurts!”. Yes, He does. Not just because He’s omniscient. Not just because He knitted you together in your mother’s womb and knows all the secrets of your heart. But because He walked that lonely and painful road Himself, as a man in the flesh, just like you.

He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; and as one from whom men hide their faces, he was despised, and we esteemed him not…
…we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted…
…He was oppressed, and he was afflicted…
…By oppression and judgment he was taken away…
…And they made his grave with the wicked…although he had done no violence, and there was no deceit in his mouth.
From Isaiah 53

But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by mankind and despised by the people. All who see me mock me; they make mouths at me; they wag their heads; “He trusts in the Lord; let him deliver him; let him rescue him, for he delights in him!”
Psalm 22:6-8

Many of them said, “[Jesus] has a demon, and is insane; why listen to him?”
John 10:20

If the world hates you, know that it has hated me [Jesus] before it hated you.
John 15:18

and coming to his hometown [Jesus] taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, “Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?…And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, “A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household.”
Matthew 13:54,57

Jesus knows how you feel, Dear One. He knows.

2.
Jesus loves you

There may be times when you feel like everyone is against you. It’s hard to be hated. But hold on to this truth and don’t let go of it: Jesus loves you. He delights in you. He will never turn His face away from you.

I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Jeremiah 31:3b

All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep his covenant and his testimonies.
Psalm 25.10

I will rejoice and be glad in your steadfast love, because you have seen my affliction; you have known the distress of my soul,
Psalm 31:7

May the Lord direct your hearts to the love of God and to the steadfastness of Christ.
2 Thessalonians 3:5

3.
Jesus will sustain you

Jesus isn’t a lifeline that only reaches halfway across the rushing river. He is our rock. Our fortress. Strength. Sustenance. Stability. What He brings you to, He will bring you through, as the old saying goes. He’s not going to abandon you in the middle of your troubles or fail to provide grace and help when you need it. You can trust Him.

you whom I took from the ends of the earth, and called from its farthest corners, saying to you, “You are my servant, I have chosen you and not cast you off”; fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.
Isaiah 41:9-10

Behold, God is my helper; the Lord is the upholder of my life.
Psalm 54:4

So we can confidently say, “The Lord is my helper; I will not fear; what can man do to me?”
Hebrews 13:6

Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.
Psalm 55:22

our Lord Jesus Christ, who will sustain you to the end, guiltless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.
1 Corinthians 1:7b-8

4.
Jesus will honor you

In the world’s eyes, voluntarily suffering for the name of Christ is shameful, pitiable, foolish, and worthy of derision. In God’s economy, sharing in Christ’s sufferings is an honor and worthy of reward.

and when they had called in the apostles, they beat them and charged them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonor for the name.
Acts 5:40-41

Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:10-12

[Moses] choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. He considered the reproach of Christ greater wealth than the treasures of Egypt, for he was looking to the reward.
Hebrews 11:25-26

But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed. If you are insulted for the name of Christ, you are blessed, because the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you…Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in that name.
1 Peter 4:13-14,16

5.
Jesus will vindicate you

Perhaps one of the greatest comforts in the midst of the battle fatigue of spiritual warfare is God’s omniscience and justice. Not a single insult will be hurled at you that escapes His notice. None of the flak you’ve taken for Him will slip through the cracks and be forgotten. One day, whether here or hereafter, God will set everything right.

Behold, all who are incensed against you shall be put to shame and confounded; those who strive against you shall be as nothing and shall perish. You shall seek those who contend with you, but you shall not find them; those who war against you shall be as nothing at all.
Isaiah 41:11-12

For the Lord will vindicate his people and have compassion on his servants.
Psalm 135:14

You have seen the wrong done to me, O Lord; judge my cause. You have seen all their vengeance, all their plots against me. You have heard their taunts, O Lord, all their plots against me. The lips and thoughts of my assailants are against me all the day long. Behold their sitting and their rising; I am the object of their taunts.

You will repay them, O Lord, according to the work of their hands. You will give them dullness of heart; your curse will be on them. You will pursue them in anger and destroy them from under your heavens, O Lord.
Lamentations 3:59-66

When he opened the fifth seal, I saw under the altar the souls of those who had been slain for the word of God and for the witness they had borne. They cried out with a loud voice, “O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you will judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell on the earth?”
Revelation 6:9-10

As you suffer for the Name above all names and do battle for His cause, strengthen your hands for combat with His great and precious promises, which can never be broken. Rest in Jesus’ love for you. Know that He understands your pain and anguish. Trust Him to sustain you. Believe that He will honor and vindicate you. For the Lord is good; his steadfast love endures forever, and his faithfulness to all generations.

Which promises do you cling to in the midst of spiritual warfare?

Encouragement, Pop Theology

God created you to do amazing things?

Image may contain: text that says 'God created you to do amaging things! -Ephesians 2:10'

 

A while back, I saw this meme posted by a woman who is in a significant position of leadership in a Christian organization.

Ladies – especially those of us who lead, teach, and minister to women – we ought not be posting or teaching things like this.

First of all, it’s misleading. This is not what Ephesians 2:10 says. Ephesians 2:10 says:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Someone has taken it upon herself to summarize the verse in her own words and created a meme which makes it look like Ephesians 2:10 is being quoted. And her summary is incorrect – a mishandling of God’s Word.

Which brings me to point number two. This is not what Ephesians 2:10 means.

The “good works” God has prepared for us to walk in are seldom amazing – at least not in the way we usually define the word “amazing”. Changing diapers, doing the laundry, breaking up fights between siblings, dealing with unreasonable bosses and annoying co-workers, and scrubbing toilets can all be “good works” God has ordained for us to perform to His glory, but most people wouldn’t call those things “amazing”. They’re mundane. Ordinary. Everyday life types of things.

And that’s OK!

First Thessalonians 4:10b-12 puts it like this:

But we urge you, brothers…to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

God has called us to serve Him and one another, and that is usually plain, unglamorous, non-prestigious, hard work. Forget “amazing” – often, no one will notice or thank us for our good works, or if they do notice, they might criticize the job we’ve done.

Finally, cotton candy “theology” like this ends up being discouraging in the long run:

“God created me to to amazing things, huh? This morning I ironed, cleaned dog vomit off the rug, and spent an hour ferrying kids to various activities. That doesn’t feel very amazing. When does this ‘amazing’ thing kick in? How long do I have to wait?”

Or:

“I’m a single mom with a full time job and three kids. I barely make it to church every week and struggle to get six hours of sleep a night with all I have to do. I’m exhausted. And now you’re telling me I have to do something ‘amazing’ on top of that?”

Or:

“I’m just an ordinary woman. God hasn’t really given me anything ‘amazing’ to do. Maybe He doesn’t love me. Maybe I don’t have enough faith, or I’m not praying hard enough, or there’s some secret sin in my life that I’m not aware of. Maybe I’m not even saved. What a failure I am.”

Ladies, ideas like the one in this meme do more harm than good. If we want to encourage each other, we need to do it biblically – with what God’s word actually says and with what God’s word actually means – with good, sound theology.

Encouragement

Throwback Thursday ~ Testify

Originally published August 9, 2016microphone-1261793_1280

When I was a kid, it was trendy to bring people before the church to give their testimony about how they got saved. More often than not, it seemed like these people had been saved out of all sorts of horrible things: drug use, promiscuity, alcoholism, prostitution, crime, etc.

It made for a dramatic testimony of the power of Christ to save even the worst of the worst, but it often left those of us who had grown up in the church, had been saved at a young age, and had never really done much “bad stuff” feeling somewhat ashamed of our testimonies. As though they were too boring to tell.

Recently, I was listening to an older lady give her testimony. She was saved in her 30s, and prior to that had been promiscuous and had a couple of failed marriages. But what struck me most about her story was not that Christ saved her from these things (although that was certainly amazing and glorious), but that this lady so regretted her past sins that said she used to sit and weep ask God, “Why didn’t You save me sooner?”.

And it hit me. This lady would have given anything for a “boring” testimony like mine. She has scars and shame that, while covered and forgiven by the blood of Christ, she will always remember and regret.

If you were saved at a young age and never really did anything “bad”, you, too, have a beautiful testimony that you should never be ashamed of. God not only saved you from your sin, He saved you before you could do many evil things that you would later look back on and regret.

Lots of your brothers and sisters in Christ would give anything to have a “boring” testimony like yours.

Church, Encouragement

A Word Fitly Spoken: 11 Ways to Encourage Your Pastor

I hope you have the blessing of sitting under good, biblical preaching at your church. I do. I’m always so thankful to hear God’s word beautifully preached in my own church, and I’m thankful for the all of the other godly men out there laboring faithfully each week to proclaim the truth of the gospel to the sheep God has entrusted to them.

Are you thankful for your pastor and a church that rightly handles God’s word? Are you telling anybody you’re thankful? Are you telling your pastor?

The ministry is a tough job, and pastors need all the encouragement they can get. Sometimes it’s the little things you say and do that can be a blessing to your pastor and make his job easier and more joyful. Proverbs 25:11 says:

Here are eleven ways you can encourage your pastor (and don’t forget your associate pastor, minister of music, youth pastor, etc.!)

1.

Pray for your pastor

Some specifics you can pray for:

💭 His wife and children

💭 His stress level, and for peace

💭 His finances and provision

💭 His marriage, and that he will be a good father

💭 That God will grow him in his understanding and handling of Scripture

💭 That God will grow him in discernment, and guard him from being influenced by false teachers/doctrine

💭 That God will protect him from temptation and lead him to repentance when he sins

💭 And here are even more ways to pray for your pastor.

Remember to tell your pastor you’re praying for him, and ask him if there’s anything in particular you can pray for him about.

2.
Show Up

First of all, Scripture says you’re supposed to be a faithful, active member of your local church. Second, it’s very discouraging to pastors when church members who are perfectly able to attend faithfully simply choose to let other, non-essential things take precedence.

3.
Be Present

Pay attention, be engaged, and have a pleasant look on your face during the sermon. If you’ve ever stood in front of a group of people, you know how easy it is to tell who’s “with you” and who’s not. And the more “with yous” there are out there, the more encouraging it is.

4.
A Word of Thanks

Just say thank you. Thank you for being my pastor, for being faithful to the Word, for encouraging me, for working so hard, for studying well…

5.
Submit to His Leadership

Take Hebrews 13:17-18 seriously:


Yes, there are abusive pastors out there. Yes, there are pastors who are flagrantly disobedient to Scripture in their leadership. If that’s your pastor, leave that church and find a pastor you can trust (yes, I know it’s hard), and whose leadership you can submit to. Don’t be the constantly complaining, argumentative, nit picky thorn in your pastor’s side.

6.
Don’t Major on the Minors

If you do need to speak to your pastor about something you disagree with him about, whenever possible, try to make sure it’s a biblical issue rather than an issue of preference, and make sure you do it in love and kindness, not in an attacking way.

7.
Wait, Mr. Postman…

Isn’t it nice to open your mail or e-mail and find something besides bills and bad news? Send your pastor a note, card, or e-mail of encouragement.

8.
C is for Cookie (and Calories)

Think before you bake. When I want to send someone a little token of encouragement, my first instinct is always to bake something. But a lot of pastors, like everyone else these days, are dieting, so use wisdom. Maybe a gift card to his favorite store or restaurant, a book by his favorite author, or a service he needs performed would be better. Here are some more ideas if you want to give your pastor a token of appreciation.

9.
A Word Fitly Spoken

Tell your pastor something you learned from the sermon or how God has been growing you through his preaching. Let him know how your Sunday school class is maturing. Tell him about the good progress that’s being made in the committee you serve on or the ministry you serve in.

10.
Perfect Timing

Do not pull your pastor aside right before the service to discuss anything that could wait until later. He needs to be focused on preaching and worship. And don’t detain him for long after the service, either. He’s probably hungry, tired, has to go to the bathroom, and wants to get home to his family. Make an appointment during the week.

11.
Nobody’s Perfect

Remember that your pastor is human. He’s going to sin. He’s going to get things wrong. Don’t assume he knows why you’re upset with him. Don’t hold a grudge. Extend the same grace you would to anyone else, and forgive.

What are some other ways we can encourage our pastors?